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“Bigger isn’t always better”- Alternative mining approaches for narrow vein orebodies
In this presentation we will look at the history and evolution of mining methods applied in narrow orebodies. We will briefly define what we mean by narrow orebodies. As mining technology has evolved so have the methods and approaches to mining. Mechanisation of underground mining led to popularisation of high volume, low cost approaches. This approach does not fit all orebodies and opportunities were lost where selective low volume mining was better suited to the orebody. Economy of scale is not appropriate where the increased volume adds cost but does not contribute to revenue.
The use of smaller, narrow vein specific mining equipment and mining methods, which utilise the small dimensions of this equipment allows mechanised mining to be selective and cost effective in narrower orebodies. Similarly in larger orebodies, the selection of the development fleet, and associated excavation dimensions, can have a significant effect on project capital and operating costs.
We will consider case studies where a low volume approach has provided the opportunity to significantly change the project metrics and viability.
The conclusion is affirmation that the old adage “let the orebody dictate” holds true. An open mind when selecting mining method and mining equipment is imperative, particularly in narrow orebodies and recent developments in mining equipment now provide engineers with more options.

May 19, 2021 11:00 AM in Johannesburg

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